The Badlands and Mount Rushmore – the wonders of South Dakota

Just a word of warning that this post is rather graphic heavy. I couldn’t just post a couple of pictures, everything was just so gorgeous.

The Badlands

Some major changes happened for me this summer and it is taking a bit to adjust. My oldest daughter has been living in South Dakota since she graduated high school about 15 years ago. She got married and started a little family but I didn’t get to see them as much as I would have liked. Once, maybe twice a year max. We have been working on them since we moved back to Washington and they have always put us off, telling us “we’ll think about it”. I think the turning point was when I told them “you could move in with me, we can share expenses and that way we can all benefit and do the things we have always wanted to do but could never afford”. She finally made the commitment and moved here the beginning of June. Now I have my grandson running around the house and what a joy that is!

Heading west into a storm. I actually miss these things, we never see storms like this in Western Washington.

My other two kids and I flew out to South Dakota to help them on their trip west. My son helped drive the moving truck and the rest of us followed along in the car. We had decided to see a bit of South Dakota as we drove through. Even though we’ve been through there many times we never stopped to see some of the more famous sights. We were on a schedule and couldn’t see everything but I guess that just means another trip another time.

The first thing was a drive through The Badlands loop, even the moving truck. It’s truly amazing that one side of South Dakota is flat and pretty boring actually and then you come up to The Badlands. What beauty! The colors embedded in the rock formations were amazing. I couldn’t do justice to them at all.

There were several caves we wanted to visit but settled on Rushmore Cave because it wasn’t too far out of the way from our next stop. I have never actually walked through caves before and it was so interesting and cool. I know there are tons of caves to visit that are bigger and better, but I enjoyed this one nonetheless.

The one thing we all agreed upon was Mt. Rushmore. Wow! Until you actually see it you don’t realize the immense undertaking it took to carve those faces into the mountainside. The detail is amazing. Take a look at those eyes and Teddy Roosevelt’s glasses.

The next stop on our adventure was the Black Hills. One again amazing scenery. We also made a stop at the Crazy Horse Monument which I will admit was a bit of a disappointment, I was expecting to see more of Crazy Horse. We decided not to take one of the buses closer to the monument and simply viewed it through one of the windows in the museum. The work is going slowly because it is all by donation. It looks like they have been spending most of their donations on parking and a gorgeous museum displaying all sorts of Native American objects. I guess it just gives us something to look forward to in a few years. It’s going to be spectacular when completed.

The Needles Highway was fun, if you love hairpin turns and tunnels wide enough for only one vehicle. We actually loved it. It was just so beautiful.

You can’t go to South Dakota without seeing bison, right? So a stop at Custer State Park was last but not least. Wild bison roaming the prairie. If you are lucky you might see antelope racing across the grass.

We had a great time and my grandson was an angel. It wasn’t until we were actually in Washington that he started the whole “are we there yet?” and “how much longer?” thing.

It is shocking how much of the US most Americans miss because we fly everywhere. We all should take some time and relax and just enjoy what we have all around us. There definitely things that we missed and will have to make a trip back. Like how can you not see the Corn Palace in Mitchell?